Nawa Raj Awasthi
The Data Analytics team planned to continue the theme of Festive Fever by arranging a hike from Lele to Dakshinkali. And Puspa Bhattarai dai was shouldered the task of coordinating the hike. The Preparation of hike started from 16th of oct 2008 once the trail of the hike was finalized. Due to the work load of some of the members, a workshop on the same day of the hike and other personal reason/obligations of the rest of the members, the hiking team was of just seven members (including our own Ram Dai). The team was excited to explore the activities after Dashain as well as the natural beauty.
It was a clear day and the sun had just risen. As decided, every one of us met at around 6:30 on 19th oct 2008 (Sunday) in the building No. 2 of D2. Puspa dai was already carrying a bag full of refreshment (chips, noodles,chocolates etc). We waited for about 15 more minutes hoping for some more of the enthusiasts. But nobody appeared. By then we had loaded the van with few notebooks and pencils to be distributed to the school children and also had a look into the headlines of the newspaper. We left for Lele at about 6:45. It is worth mentioning that it was the first hike for us all (five of us were new to D2 and Srijana was amazed to hear that Even Puspa dai who is involved with D2 for more than a year now have not been able to enjoy any of the hikes.) Moreover we were also not familiar with the trail. We stopped for breakfast at Jawalakhel. Then we headed for Lele via khumaltar, Sunakothi in Lalitpur.Thanks to Ram dai for inquiring the way we should follow to reach Dakshinkali once we reached Lele, otherwise we would have wasted some of our time in the van itself. At around 9:00 a.m., Ram dai dropped us near Tikabhairav in Lele. He then left for Dakshinkali driving the van. We had already loaded our bags with bottles of water and copies. We spent around 5 minutes capturing the panoramic hills and Himalayan range, green fields, people and the art and architecture and talking to the local villagers. We began to climb a small hill. At almost the top of the hill, we decided to take some help regarding the way. It was so nice of that lad in his early 20s who willingly offered to guide us the way through. Thanking him, we climbed down that hill. We saw some feathers as well as the remnants of “Ping” built for Dashain. The villagers must have had a wonderful Dashain. We were slowly descending down the trail. We met a group of kids ascending the hill in school uniform. It was evident that they were heading towards the school. I started wondering how priviledged we were; we used to have school buses to carry us from one part of Kathmandu to another. Our first goal was to reach a school at “Duku Chap village”. We kept on walking taking about the beauty of the area and Nepal as a whole, cracking jokes and many others things. Chandra Ji’s special interest on capturing of flora and fauna even inside the bushes was admired and at the same time it was easy for Mahesh to crack a joke. Chandra Ji used to be lost in the photography much often and we used to ask him to move on time after time. After about an hour, we decided to have a short break. We drank water, sat down for a while laughed and talked. After a while Puspa dai said : “Aba Bistari lagau” and Srijana Promptly replied “Aghi dekhi Bistarai ta Hidhdai chau” and every body laughed. We observed the marvelous mountains, fascinating mustard field, trees and traditional Nepalese houses. We even talked to the few people we met regarding the way they celebrated the Dashain and their plans for Tihar. This hike was not just a recreational activity but it was also a platform to get an insight into the lifestyle of the villagers. Seeing a farmer ploughing the field near “Duku Chaap village”, Puspa Dai jumped into the field and asked the farmer for allowing him plough the field for a while. The farmer readily accepted and as soon as Puspa dai started to plough, the pair of bulls started to run and they forced puspa dai to run after them. Every one of us enjoyed this event. Soon afterwards, Srijana joined a group of woman to help them out in loosening the soil. One of the woman asked her to hit hard at the soil stating “ Mato lai Dukhdaina” and everybody giggled. It took us about three hours to reach Ganesh Madhyamik Vidhyalaya at “Duku Chaap” where we met students from class 1 to 7.
We went inside each class and Sameer and Srijana were the most interested ones in asking questions to students as well as sing a song. Their efforts were awarded and we distributed the copies, pencils and chocolates we carried along with us to each and every student. Before leaving the school we inspired them to study hards and it was good to see that there were few girls among the students. We thanked the teachers for allowing us intervene them during class hours. One of the teachers suggested us that we should go towards the “Danuwar Village” as well and we headed towards the same. It was there where we saw the true picture of Nepal. It was undoubtedly the area of poor Danuwars. The kids of that village were deprived of education and even the old woman in 80s was seen to prepare a mattress (gundri) out of straw, for the upcoming Tihar. We soon reached the bridge near the Nakhu River. We sat down and were about to end our refreshment time. Just then an old Nepalese woman in 60s appeared in front of us and greeted us. We replied and offered her chocolates. She refused it stating that she hates sweet. We then handed over a packet of “Wai Wai” to her. Chandra Ji asked “Anybody Needs water” and she was the first to reply with a “Yes” with british accent. We were puzzled and later on guessed that it must have been the outcome of the “Proudh Sikhchyya”. We crossed the suspension bridge and then started to climb a huge mountain. Somebody told us that it would take around 1 hour to reach the peak. After few minutes we saw a couple harvesting the paddy. Sameer jumped into the field to help them out followed by me and then Chandraji. We helped them for a while. We started to ascend again. It was only now that we realized how tiring a hike is. We used to take a 3 minutes break after 20 minutes climb. We used to ask anybody whom we met on the way the duration to reach Dakshinkali and the answer used to be the same (about an hour) all the time. Chandra ji had stopped dancing and even taking pictures as he used to, Sameer was reluctant to move his feet, Srijana used to take mint (polo) and water to re-energize herself, and so did the rest. Every body was fatigue striken by the time we crossed the Seti devi village development committee. It was almost quarter to 3 when we reached the top of the hill and at the mid of the hill was located “Dakshinkali”. We mad our way down the pine forest slipping in the dried pine leaves. Finally we saw Ram dai near to the van waiting for us for a long time. We then went to the Dakshinkali temple and took blessings from goddess. Then we started to return back towards Kathmandu. We rested for a while in Tau daha near to Chaubhar. Everybody was hungry by now and we decided to have something. So we landed up in The Bakery Café in Jawalakhel. It was already 6 p.m. when we left for D2 from Jawalakhel. All in all it was a marvelous experience. Thank you Vishnu dai for helping us out to decide the trail and thanks D2 for the platform you have provided.